Beauty Q&A: Ponytails, Wedding Clothes, and Breast Relief

I have an upstate New York wedding on a farm to attend this August. I am looking for a dress that is a) easy to travel with (i.e., can be rolled up inside a suitcase), b) comfortable and appropriate for a farm wedding, and c) less than $150. Hopefully, I’m not too pie-in-the-sky. Any suggestions?

No, you are not dreaming; your dress is out there! (Actually, it’s down there, under this paragraph.) To start, a little review of wedding attire etiquette: Avoid looking better than or similar to anyone in the wedding party. This means no white and no bright solids. I find the best answer is to wear a print — and one that’s not just shades of ivory/white/pink. Prints also disguise wrinkles and frosting splotches. Also, try not to look like a skank: No tube dresses, mini-minis, lucite heels, etc. Basically don’t wear anything you’d ever see on My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.

For this particular summer soiree, think cotton. It has four things going for it that suit your situation: It’s breathable and great for warm weather, de-wrinkles easily without an iron (just spritz it with some water or hang it in a steamy bathroom and smooth wrinkles with your hand), isn’t so formal that you can’t wear it again, and will cost less than silk or linen. Lastly, you want a wedding-appropriate and flattering style: the wrap dress. So, put it all together and what you’re looking for is … a cotton wrap dress with a fun print! Here are some ideas (click the pics for more info).

For more, try searching “cotton print wrap dress” on And don’t forget shoes! Will you be walking around in grass/dirt/horseshit all day at this farm? No light-colored spikey high heels in that case. Maybe try wedges or highly embellished flat sandals like these (that none of us can afford, but you could maybe find a knockoff at Marshall’s?).

So! I have decided that I’m just going to wear sunscreen all the time, even when it’s cloudy and I’m just going to work, because I really would rather not wrinkle early (also melanoma). Here’s my question: What’s the best way to rock sunscreen? I’m pretty skeptical about makeup with SPF claims, since they aren’t broad-spectrum, so I’d just as soon stay with actual sunscreen.

Right now I’m doing La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Melt in Sunscreen Milk under my makeup. Here’s the problem: I’m super shiny and my powder, which I wear in lieu of foundation, sort of clings to my face in sad ways? It rrreally likes the sunscreen and doesn’t want to blend. So here are my questions: 1) Should I switch sunscreen and if so, to what? I like not having extra acne, but it would be nice not to be a shine monster. 2) Should I switch my foundation powder to something even lighter? If so, what? 3) Should I be putting on my sunscreen AFTER my makeup instead of BEFORE to prevent clumping? 4) Or do I just have to make my peace with being shiny all the rest of my life?

Setting aside the SPF 15/30/50 debate (since there apparently is no over-50 SPF anymore) and the worry about your foundation — hey, if it works for you don’t change it! — I do know of one really awesome product that I think you should try. I got it from my derm years ago after having pretty much the same “I’m so greasy! I feel gross. I don’t want to look old, though. Basically I want to look perfect all the time, why aren’t you giving me the stuff that does that!?” talk. It’s this powder sunblock.

The starter kit with the brush contraption thingy is $50-$60 depending where you buy it online, but refills are only like $25 and it lasts a while. You can wear it over or under your current powder and reapply throughout the day if you feel like it, and you’ll never smell like sunblock. I love the stuff.

Jane, this is the saddest Beauty Question ever, are you ready?

So, I have pretty fantastic boobs. But I am also a hairy lady, with pale skin and dark hair. Hence … I have nipple hairs. Not, like, light fine nipple hairs, but thick, dark, almost pube-y looking hairs, 10 or so around each areola. (It’s not PCOS, since I don’t have any symptoms besides lots of hair, so I’m thinking this is just unlucky genes.)

This hasn’t been a huge deal in the past, since I’ve just plucked them whenever I felt like showing my tits to someone. That strategy has been fine since puberty and the boyfriends I’ve had since then. But now the game has changed, since one of those boyfriends stuck, and a few months ago we moved in together.

And Jane! I can’t get away with just occasional nip-hair pluckings when I actually live with someone who could potentially see/feel my boobs 24/7. This has resulted in some grossness, where my attempts to stay ahead of the nipple-hair game have resulted in nasty-ass ingrown hairs I have to dig out, which result in scabs, which result in scars, which still grow hairs, and it’s just this terrible cycle and I kind of hate my breasts now.

So my question is, how do I break this cycle? Is there some way to prevent ingrown hairs on such delicate skin? Is there some way to reduce the scarring/scabbing? Letting them grow out for an extended period is not an option, since I really REALLY don’t want the boyfriend/roommate to find out (so far I’ve been passing the redness off as beard burn, which is all I could think of). Any help you could provide would be immensely, immensely appreciated.

DON’T HATE YOUR BREASTS!!! And stop it right now. (This is me flicking your hands away from your nipple hairs with my typing!) Stop picking, creating scabs and scars and most of all stop fibbing to your boyfriend. He has totally realized what’s going on, or at least doesn’t buy the “beard burn” story, and he is still living with you, so just drop that.

Let’s be honest: Having nipple hairs is so normal it’s boring. Ten is a medium amount. We all have some or we all have ingrown pubes or chin hairs that get out of control and then we pick ourselves into scabs and scars that stay with us forever. Knock it off, ladies! My #1 piece of advice is to definitely stop hurting yourself right now and realize that your boyfriend actually loves you and will not care about the time it takes you to get your nipple hairs under control in a way that makes you happy yet unscarred (how often are you thinking about his weird circumcision scar or his feminine boobies?) and that you have, as you said, FANTASTIC BREASTS.

1. You probably have this. The solution is to let them grow out long enough that you can pluck them without incident, like you did the whole rest of your life before this wonderful person who digs you 24/7 came around, you lucky jerk.

2. You may also be allowing bacteria to get into the follicle, so make sure you cleanse your hands and boobs super well before and after any plucking/shaving if you must.

3. Get electrolysis or laser hair removal if you can’t live with it.

4. Post pics of your boobs in the comments or start a page on so everyone else can weigh in. Kidding! Or am I…

I’m a big-bosomed woman, and I’ve been having trouble finding bras that aren’t totally ugly. I need some legitimate support but am really not into “t-shirt” bras that every sales person has been telling me are my only option to avoid having half my boob spilling over the top of my bra (or what I like to call the four boob look). As a result I’ve been wearing bras that are a tad too small and getting little bruises from the wire under my armpit. I’m looking for company that makes unlined, preferably lacy, bras in sizes larger than a D that will actually counter gravity. Does this exist??

Ouch! Why is everyone hurting their boobs today!?

Before I send you shopping, two things: One, because of the work they have to do in supporting your giant knockers, larger bras almost always come with some sort of structure in the cup, such as padding or boning. For this reason, it’s difficult to find unlined bras larger than a D. Difficult, but not impossible. Two: Good bras usually cost good money. That is not to say you can’t find the best bra for $20, but if you want something perfect and specific and supportive and sexy and comfortable and durable, that comes at a premium. And it’s worth it! Once you have enough bras in your wardrobe you’ll only have to wear each one like twice a month and they’ll last you for years. Bras as investment pieces = serious grown-ass woman shit.

If you live in a city that has one, head to Intimacy immediately. Not only do they have the style you seek, they will fit you so perfectly you will never have four boobs or bruises again. Only two boobs standing at attention. Everyone’s attention. They’ll also tailor any bras you purchase there for free if the elastic starts to give. Try to walk in with $300. Is this not as important as new tires for your ride?

If Intimacy isn’t nearby, try Panache, Fauve, or Freya for hot and sometimes unlined OTSBH. And this one from Wacoal is really pretty too.

I have medium-thickness hair that’s to my bra strap. I’m really good at twisting it and pinning it and stuffing it up into fancy ‘dos, but how do I make a ponytail? I mean I know how, but HOW? A bouncy, perky pretty one that stays up all day and doesn’t make me look like someone modeled me in clay and pinched my head in?

First of all, congratulations on leaving your boobs alone, and your hair sounds glorious. I’m not sure if you mean an up high Kim Kardashian ponytail, a middle of the back of your head Heidi Klum ponytail or a Gwyneth Paltrow low ponytail. But guess what? It doesn’t matter! There are things you should be doing in each case to make your hair look full and bouncy and for the ponytail to stay in place.

– Blow dry your hair in a way that creates the most volume. Use a volumizing spray at the roots and flip your head upside down, brushing as you blow dry. This will add volume, which will help you avoid looking too sleek and “pinched.”

– Tease your hair at the roots near where you’ll be placing the hair tie. This will give the ponytail holder more to grip and, again, keep the ponytail from looking too close to your head and not full and bouncy. When you’re ready to brush up into the ponytail, just don’t put the bristles close to your scalp where you’ve teased; kind of smooth the hair over that area instead.

Try these elastics. I’m pretty much addicted to them — they stay in place through anything *WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE COUGH SEX COUGH*

– For a pro look, after your hair is up in the ponytail, take about a 1” section of hair and wrap it around the elastic, securing with a bobby pin or tucking the end back into the elastic.

-Lastly, sometimes I take my 1 ½” curling iron and add a bit of soft wave just to the ends, smoothing them out and finishing the look. Then Elnett the shit outta that and go to work.

Previously: Dress Yourself in Pencil Skirts and Lingerie.

Jane Feltes produces the radio program “This American Life,” and no one pays her to say any of this. Do you have a question for Jane?